A group of students and faculty members at the University of Virginia were triggered after the university president quoted Thomas Jefferson, who founded the school itself in 1819.
University of Virginia at Charlottesville President Teresa Sullivan sent an email urging students to “remember their own responsibility in the world” following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
“By coincidence, on this exact day 191 years ago — November 9, 1825, in the first year of classes at U.Va. — Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,’” she wrote. “I encourage today’s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.”
Sullivan’s decision to use a quote by former President Thomas Jefferson, who founded the university in 1819, triggered students and faculty alike.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Noelle Hurd drafted a letter to the school’s president “to provide [Sullivan] with some constructive and respectful feedback regarding [her] messages.”
“We are incredibly disappointed in the use of Thomas Jefferson as a moral compass,” the letter read. “Thomas Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves. Other memorable Jefferson quotes include that Blacks are ‘inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind,’ and ‘as incapable as children of taking care of themselves.’”
The letter, signed by almost 469 faculty and students, claimed that, “although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it.”
“For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotes undermines the messages of unity, equality, civility, and inclusivity that you are attempting to convey,” the letter concluded.
In her response to the letter from faculty and students, Sullivan defiantly continued to quote Jefferson.
“UVA is still producing leaders for our Republic, and from backgrounds that Mr. Jefferson could not have anticipated in 1825, when he wrote the words that I quoted,” she said. “All of them belong at today’s UVA, whose founder’s most influential and most quoted words were ‘ . . . all men are created equal.’”
The concerted attempt by far-left activists to purge any reference to the Founding Fathers from modern America is nothing new.
Matt Haney, president of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, called for George Washington’s name to be removed from George Washington High School in the Richmond District of the city because he owned slaves.